Being invited to a food tasting always brings a joy.
|Drinks ordered (es alpukat, es selasih fantasi spesial, es jeruk nyiur, es merah delima, es cendol pandan wangi)|
Especially if I have never been to that particular restaurant before. Experience, experience.
So, I got invited by Pandan Village several weeks ago, and I was completely excited. To be honest, I had never been to Plaza Indonesia before, so I see the food tasting as a 'killing two birds with one stone' opportunity. I got to visit one of the most crowded malls in Jakarta, also taste some food at Pandan Village which I had never tried.
After getting lost a bit searching for the restaurant, I finally arrived. Pandan Village, whose menu list is occupied by traditional Indonesia dishes, applies casual fine dining, and there are some Indonesian traditional patterns can be spotted here and there. The place is spacious and clean, and there is a glass separator dividing the dining area into two sections.
As soon as I arrived, Mr Jefri Franslay (from Marketing and Communication FG Resto) handed a folder with the menu and price lists inside. Perfect, so I didn't have to take a note about anything. Twelve solid menus are on that night's menu list, so I prepared myself for a big feast.
|Clockwise from top left: Pandan Village restaurant, drinks menu, cutlery, the menu book|
The first thing asked by the waiters is our drinks orders. Spoilt by choice, I finally settled for es selasih fantasi spesial, which is a refreshing drink with basil seeds, young coconut flesh, and red kolang kaling (the fruit of a kind of palm tree, Arenga pinnata). I like the sweetness, but I still got the feeling like something is missing from the drink.
|Foreground: es selasih fantasi spesial (special drink with basil seeds, young coconut, and kolang kaling) - IDR 25,000 ($2.7); background: es jeruk nyiur (orange juice with young coconut) - IDR 25,000 ($2.7)|
Appetizer is covered by two wonderful fried snacks. First one is one of Indonesian traditional snacks, risoles, which I believe is made from folded soft crepes filled with ragout and veggie, rolled into breadcrumbs and deep fried.
The texture and fillings are great, but it would be much better for me if these snacks are accompanied by spicy sauce instead of the sour, plum-like sauce.
|Risoles (fried battered snack with ragout and veggie filling) - IDR 24,000 ($2.6)|
The second appetizer is tahu kipas udang laguna (fried battered tofu with prawns and veggie filling). So moreish and wonderfully crunchy, I prefer this one than the risoles. A bit oily though, but the filling is tasty.
|Tahu kipas udang laguna (fried battered tofu with prawns and veggie filling) - IDR 32,000 ($3.5)|
The appearance of tahu telor Pandan Village (Pandan Village's tofu omelet) is a bit suspicious for me at first, but it didn't hinder me from taking a bite.
The tofu omelet is almost silky smooth, surrounded with my favourite shrimp crackers and topped with sweet sauce, beansprouts, chopped celery, and fried shallots. I don't know the exact ingredients of the sauce, but I believe it includes peanuts, tamarind and a bit of chilli.
|Tahu telor Pandan Village (Pandan Village's tofu omelet) - IDR 28,000 ($3.1)|
Salad Borneo is basically an ensemble of thinly sliced cucumber with mustard-like dressing, topped with brown chicken chunks and circled by potato chips. I am not certain about the dressing though, I wonder if it's really mustard or egg yolk mixed with vinegar, just as Febee said.
The cucumber is crunchy, and I do not have a problem with the dressing although mustard is not my fav sauce. Chicken chunks are tasty and tender, and the potato chips are addictively crunchy.
|Salad Borneo - IDR 38,000 ($4.2)|
The soups are my favourite dishes of the night, served in a small metal pot, still with a flame under to keep it hot.
The asem-asem iga Sari Kuring (sour ribs soup with tomato and chilli) is such a perfect soup for a cold weather. The broth is yellowish in colour, very fresh and light. There are some tangy punches from the soup, which makes it so enjoyable to eat, especially with warm rice. The ribs easily fall off the bone and quite tender.
|Asem-asem iga Sari Kuring (sour ribs soup with tomato and chilli) - IDR 55,000 ($6.1)|
Sop kikil Pandan Village (Pandan Village's ox tendons soup) is a hearty one too, but with vivid curry-like flavour and less acidity. I didn't try the tendon as I am not a fan of it, but I'll knock my socks off for the soup. So belly-warming, if you know what I mean.
|Sop kikil Pandan Village (Pandan Village's ox tendons soup) - IDR 45,000 ($5)|
Gurame bakar Nusa Penida (Nusa Penida style grilled carp) is the first seafood of the night. Nicely marinated and charred on some parts, this is a good grilled carp. Plus, the fins are so crispy.
However, there was inconsistency about this dish that night. Two grilled carps are served on our long table that night, and while my part of the table is admiring our grilled carp, the other half of the table don't seem to be interested in theirs. Apparently, their carp has a rather pungent soil flavour, which makes the carp not enjoyable to eat.
|Gurame bakar Nusa Penida (Nusa Penida stye grilled carp) - IDR 65,000 ($7.2)|
Ayam bumbu rujak (Javanese-style sauteed chicken with red chilli) arrived in the same metal pot like the soups'. The chicken is incredibly tender and juicy, but I actually prefer it if the rujak sauce is sourer and spicier.
But anyway, this is also my favourite dish of the night.
|Ayam bumbu rujak (Javanese-style sauteed chicken with red chilli) - IDR 35,000 ($3.8)|
Sambal goreng tongkol manalagi (fried albacore tuna cooked in chilli sauce and coconut milk) is favoured by many foodies that night, but apparently its charm doesn't work the same to me. It's really good, indeed, but I still can pick up a slight fishy aftertaste although the fish is cooked perfectly. Having said that, I think the sauce is seriously good and flavorsome, and I love the fried shallots on top.
|Sambal goreng tongkol manalagi (fried albacore tuna cooked in chilli sauce and coconut milk) - IDR 45,000 ($5)|
Sate tulang Banjar (Banjar style bone satay) isn't available that night, so we were given sate ayam pandan wangi (chicken satay with pandan scent) instead. No complaints from me, although I would really like to try the bone satay.
Serving the name right, these juicy chicken chunks on skewers definitely have pandan scent, which is really aromatic and always successfully makes me drool.
|Sate ayam pandan wangi (chicken satay with pandan scent) - IDR 38,000 ($4.2)|
Sate ayam Suroboyo (Surabaya style chicken satay) is another favourite among the foodies, although I prefer the pandan chicken satay. These satays are flanked by peanut sauce and chopped chillies and shallots.
I found them a bit on the dry side although they aren't chewy at all. The peanut sauce makes a perfect pairing, and squeeze the lemon wedge if you're after a zingy kick.
|Sate ayam Suroboyo (Surabaya style chicken satay) - IDR 35,000 ($3.8)|
Overall, the food tasting is a fantastic and hilarious one. The food is great, but are they better than my mom's cooking? Well, I am going to say no. Nevertheless, I think Pandan Village is a place to consider if you are looking for authentic Indonesian cuisine in a fine dining restaurant.
Finally, thanks for Mr Jefri Franslay and Pandan Village for inviting me, also thanks for fellow bloggers who made me laugh so hard that night. It's always lovely to meet all of you!
Rating: 3/5 (Worth the try)
Good Indonesian food, good service, nice and clean environment, price is a bit high (probably targeting high-end customers).
Irene's Getting Fat! attended Bloggers' Food Tasting as a guest of Pandan Village.
Plaza Indonesia Lv 3, 118B/T118B
Jl. MH. Thamrin Kav.28-30
Phone: (021) 2992 3603